I have to teach with a coursebook once a week. It isn’t terrible but it kind of sets boundaries a bit on what the twenty five students feel they can talk about. To prepare them for an assessment I am busy sorting out, a timed discussion, and extend beyond the book, I set up the following activity:
- Talk with the person next to you about the biggest issues and problems regarding garbage on a world scale.
- Go around, take the major themes of these discussions. Set up 6 stations to talk about those themes, one theme per station. Students have 6 x 3 minutes to have short discussions. They must visit at least three stations, and may choose to stay longer at some if it is particularly interesting.
- When finished, log the three most interesting/striking/important points in their notebooks.
- Find three people that they didn’t talk to at all in our lessons that day. Have three different conversations about those points and the three other people’s points.
- Edit and add to their own points. Homework is to research a bit deeper.
I am going to follow this up with some work on discourse markers for argument structure next week.
The activity worked really well and I am likely to repeat it in the future for other EGAP/discussion classes. The students were really interested in making the topics their own and expanded upon it very well, with vocabulary fed in and a bit of hot correction.